Jamie has been an animal lover all her life. As a child, she would often take in strays to care for them. As a teenager, she spent her free time volunteering at wildlife facilities. At 16, while her peers were saving money for cars, she saved her money for a macaw.
After graduating high school, Jamie attended Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training & Management (“EATM”) program. This program offered hands-on training working with exotics in its America’s Teaching Zoo, which was home to more than 250 different species, including, but not limited to, pigs, camels, parrots, primates (including a male mandrill baboon), bengal tigers, sea lions, wolves, birds of prey, lions, water buffalo, llamas, and much more. In addition to working in the teaching zoo, Jamie interned with Wildlife Waystation in Sylmar, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Santa Barbara Zoo, Sea World Wild Arctic in San Diego, and Dolphin Quest in Tahiti.
After graduating from Moorpark’s EATM program in 2003 with degrees in Exotic Animal Training & Management, Animal Husbandry and Wildlife Education, Jamie was hired by Sea World, where she specialized in birds and marine mammals. At Sea World, she was a part of the Animal Interaction team, which led park guest education shows and was responsible for public relations (television and studio work) with a variety of animals, including birds of prey, otters, opossums, armadillos, crowned cranes, reptiles, etc. She also put on shows and education events at the Seal Lion and Otter Stadium, where she worked with the sea lions and otters, and at the Dolphin Stadium, where she worked with Pacific and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and pilot whales.
In 2007, Jamie returned to Moorpark College as an instructor of Zoo Skills for the EATM program. She taught at the college until 2009, when her first child was born. After that, she continued her education, receiving her BS in Applied Animal Studies from Brandman University in San Diego.
In 2012, Jamie moved to Kansas with her family. In Kansas, she unintentionally became involved in the lost and found and rescue community when a boarding facility lost her own dog. After successfully finding and trapping her own dog, Jamie was determined to help others locate lost pets. She began training with Lost Pet Professionals—a company that provides tracking and other services to people who have missing pets. In 2016, Jamie became a licensed private investigator, specializing in missing pets.
Because tracking, attraction and capturing lost pets can be needed at all hours of the day and night, often with immediate action required for the best chance of success, the industry was not greatly conducive for a mother with two young children. However, during her lost dogs recovery, Jamie had met Melody (Kelso) Huff, Director, Trainer, Animal Caretaker & Behavioral Team member with The Pet Connection, and in 2017 she took a position as a contracted trainer with The Pet Connection.
As a trainer with The Pet Connection, Jamie is passionate about educating owners on how to obtain a desired behavior from their pet in a positive, healthy way. This involves adopting a philosophy of force-free training that focuses on positive reinforcement tactics. Jamie will tell you that any person who has to use force or punishment to get a dog to do what he/she wants is not a skilled trainer, and such methods can have damaging effects on your pet. After all, none of the exotic animals Jamie worked with and trained ever had shock or pinch collars, and she was able to train all of those animals using force-free, positive reinforcement methods!
In addition to being dedicated to her work helping animals, Jamie enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her two boys, Jackson and Hayes, her 26-year-old gold macaw, Kiwi, and her rescue animals—tracking dog, Leroy, domestic short-haired cat, Bear, and peer-model dog, Roox.